Australia’s The Age profiles Rod Menzies and his rise from cleaning business entrepreneur to Australia’s leading auctioneer:
A hard-nosed entrepreneur, he made his millions from the contract cleaning business he started while a university student. Today, Menzies International is one of Australia’s top 500 private companies – last year its revenue was $185 million, according to BRW magazine. But while the cleaning business is where he makes most of his money, it’s not what creates the headlines – Menzies’ bullish approach to selling art does.
He loves to boast that his auction business is the market leader – and it’s true that in the past eight years the takings of Menzies Art Brands have run second to the prestigious Sotheby’s Australian arm only twice. Last year, in a market pounded by the financial crisis, Menzies turned over $22.7 million in art sales compared with Sotheby’s $24.1 million. In the boom year of 2007, Menzies turned over $64.4 million to Sotheby’s $51.4 million. […]
Sydney art dealer and auction room fixture Denis Savill recalls ribbing Menzies when the businessman and horse-racing enthusiast told him he was starting an art auction business. “I thought the passion that Rod had was better off going into horse auctions because he knew a damn lot more about horses than paintings.” Savill is now one of Menzies’ staunchest defenders. “He carved out a huge niche … he’s an amazing success story. He blew Christie’s out of the water,” Savill says, referring to the departure of the international auction house from Australia in 2007.
The Art of the Deal (The Age)